Disney Brings Back Iconic Pirate After Controversy

in Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort

Jack Sparrow as an animatronic.

Credit: Disney

After several weeks, an iconic pirate has returned to Disneyland.

Pirates of the Caribbean at the Magic Kingdom
Credit: Brittany DiCologero

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There may not be a more iconic or infamous theme park attraction than Pirates of the Caribbean at the Disney parks. Sure, newer rides and attractions like Jurassic World VelociCoaster and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, may be two of the best rides in the country, but there’s something truly special about this slow-moving boat ride through an exciting pirate port. The Universal Orlando Resort is about to expand in a major way soon, yet again, with Epic Universe on the way.

This massive new expansion will act as the resort’s third theme park and is set to open sometime in 2025. There’s no doubt that this will be quite some stiff competition for Walt Disney World, despite several new rides opening here as well in the last year or so. These new attractions include Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT, TRON Lightcycle/Run at Magic Kingdom, and Journey of Water Inspired by Moana, also at EPCOT.

By the time Epic Universe opens at Universal Studios Florida, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, Disney’s most controversial ride, will be open as well.

Tiana's Bayou Adventure Concept Art | Credit: Disney
Credit: Disney

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This ride is not entirely new, however, taking over the former location and space that Disney’s iconic Splash Mountain attraction occupied just a few short months ago. Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s version of this beloved yet problematic ride closure forever in 2023, and while we were sad to see it go, we can admit it was time to say goodbye to Splash Mountain and hello to something more modern.

To get back to the topic at hand, Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean is by far one of the most legendary theme park rides in the world and is much more than just a hokey water ride. As we’re sure you already know, this ride spawned a massive film franchise for Disney as well, one that brought in billions at the box office and launched Johnny Depp into the level of stardom he benefits from now. There have been five films in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and while the future of the series is currently sailing on rough waters, there’s no doubt in our mind that another film will come out, with or without the lead pirate.

Speaking of pirates, this is where the heart of the attraction itself lies. During the adventure, guests will spot dozens of animatronics, which is part of what makes this ride so special. While audio animatronics may be quite common within Disney rides, finding more than one or two is quite rare. On Pirates of the Caribbean, guests will find dozens at a time, and while they may not be as advanced as the Yeti on Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom or Anna and Elsa at Hong Kong Disneyland, they all are still as loveable and iconic.

Pirates of the Caribbean Jack Sparrow on ride
Credit: Disney

Unfortunately, quite a few pirates and other characters have gone missing over the years. With Pirates of the Caribbean being so old and with so many different versions, including the one at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Shangai Disney, it’s common to see one or two missing during your ride. Due to the ongoing controversy surrounding Johnny Depp, many fans, including us here at Inside the Magic, have wondered how long Captain Jack Sparrow would be a part of the ride. For now, it looks like he will be staying for quite some time, but that doesn’t mean other pirates don’t get removed.

Over the last month, one pirate went missing seemingly overnight, with no word on where he went or when or if he would return. We kept an eye out for this pirate after he went missing and assumed he might not return to the ride at all. However, we’re glad to report that he’s back once again.

Ayy! He’s back!
byu/Xerphyne8201 inDisneyland

A few guests commented on the pirate’s return. “Rofl, it was so weird when he was gone. Can hear his voice, and other pirates are shooting at nothing,” said one guest. The removal of this specific pirate was bizarre and even controversial. During the time that he was missing, his audio cues could still be heard, creating a somewhat confusing portion of the attraction. Some may argue this created a “bad show,” a term given to Disney park rides and attractions that are lacking in terms of theming and immersion. Another example of this is the incredibly controversial decision to leave the massive Yeti animatronic motionless at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

As we said earlier, Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the most iconic Disney theme park rides ever and can be found all across the world. There’s a version of Pirates of the Caribbean at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, Disneyland in Anaheim, California, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland, and Shanghai Disneyland.

What’s your favorite ride at Disneyland? Do you enjoy Pirates of the Caribbean?

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